Tag Archive: onyx theatre


Autumn can be a difficult thing to spot in Las Vegas. It tends to be stealthy, tiptoeing in with crisp breezes and a midday temperature that doesn’t make human skin boil. It’s a slow-mover, with those lovely fall colors not gracing the limbs of trees here until most places are getting their winter vibes on.

Academic schedules remain unaffected by our late-arriving season. Kindergardeners, graduate students and all learners in between donned backpacks this past week and headed back to school, stoically sweltering in the name of scholastic success.

Like a school holiday or Christmas break, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Vegas dance groups large and small are pulling together for some fall performances that might just be the happy hour that your long week needs. A few of them are listed below. If you know of something that isn’t mentioned here, shoot me an email or leave a comment below. Cheers!

“The Spade of Hearts Presents: The Variety Show”: Saturday, Sept. 3, 9:30 – 11:30 p.m. at Boomers Bar. Burlesque and comedy will be well-represented, with performances by Dave Johnson, Roxy Rock-It, JP Nomi Malone and more! Arrive early for free jello shots (9 – 10 p.m. or while supplies last) and enjoy drink specials throughout the night. Tickets are $15 for one or $20 for two at the door.

“Grindhouse Burlesque Presents: The Daily Grind!”: Sunday, Sept. 4, 9 p.m. – midnight at The Bikini Bar. Caramel D’lite will be emceeing the show, which will feature numbers by Roxy Rock-It, Rosalita Nikita, Porcelain Vanity and Lacey Moon. There’s no cover for the performance, but you have to be 21 or older (sorry, youngins). Check out the Grindhouse Burlesque website here for more.

“Waiting for Godot”: Thursday, Sept. 8 – Oct. 1, 8 p.m., at The Insurgo Theater at the Plaza Hotel and Casino. This round of performances kicks off the first casino-based resident space for a theater troupe in Las Vegas, so you can enjoy that fact alongside the spectacular work of Insurgo Theater and Samuel Beckett. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the box office until 15 minutes before the show. Call (702) 883-5500 to reserve them over the phone.

“Nuthouse by Michael O’Neal”: Fridays, Sept. 9 and 23, and Saturdays, Sept. 10 – 24, midnight, the Onyx Theatre. Lose your mind alongside the cast with this nutty, thoroughly inappropriate show that will take you on a tour of the mind of your average psychopath. Tickets are $10 and cocktails are available free of charge, although donations are accepted. The house opens at 11:30 p.m.

“1230 Clown Show: Rat Pack”: Thursday and Friday, Sept. 15 and 16, at, that’s right, half-past midnight. This jam-packed variety show is worth turning out for; there will likely be members of the audience who go to both performances, so don’t be shy about coming back. Find a previous review of the show here and be sure to get there early: seats fill fast. Tickets are $15 and doors open at 11:45 p.m.

A lively cast of Las Vegas locals put on the monthly “Burly-Q Revue” on Feb. 10 at Daddy Mac’s and proved that, contrary to insinuations in the Las Vegas Weekly, there is a lot of Vegas burlesque to love.

Miranda Glamour, pictured left, was the “femcee” for the night and conducted the show with her usual mix of warmth and wryness. The timing of the performance wasn’t ideal, as the “Varietease” event for the Burlesque Hall of Fame was also taking place the same evening. Logistics meant that the start-time of the  “Revue” was delayed by an hour, but that was the only casualty.

Glamour detailed a bigger tragedy, though. In her coverage of the “Varietease” show, Kristin Peterson of the Las Vegas Weekly commented that, “aside from Cha Cha Velour’s monthly burlesque show at Boomers Bar, it’s slim pickings around town, despite the burlesque dancers that abound here.”

Hmm. Maybe Peterson is talking about Las Vegas, N. M., because Las Vegas, Nev. has more burlesque than arts writers like me know what to do with. Yes, as Peterson pointed out, Cha Cha Velour’s “Booming Burlesque” at Boomers Bar is a fantastic standby. However, the “Burly-Q Revue” takes place on the second Thursday of every month is is tied with Madonna for reinvention capabilities.

Karnival” at the Onyx is generally the second Wednesday of each month and almost always includes burlesque of some kind. The Erotic Heritage Museum is known for featuring performers like Dr. Sexpot for one-time-only or serial events, like the “Grindhouse Burlesque” show that took place on Feb. 13. Jeff McBride’s “Wonderground,” another recurring show, happened Feb. 17, as did the “Four Play Variety Show” at the Erotic Heritage Museum. There has also been talk of a burlesque game show that would be transpiring in the near future.

Individual performers are continually grabbing the neo-burlesque movement by the horns and organizing their own shows. The people behind these instances will tell you that the burlesque business isn’t easy. It isn’t dead, either, and the performers deserve credit where credit is due … including at the “Burly-Q.”

Once the show got started, it skipped along energetically and featured acts from well-established Vegas performers. Lou Lou Roxy, with pink gloves and her signature smirk, managed to shimmy her way out of a strait-jacket to a track that could have scored an enjoyably bad spy movie. The second act featured Roxy in a glittering copper dress, which was soon discarded in favor of fringe and feathers that were both artfully wielded.

JP Nomi Malone performed, most memorably, a contemporary pointe number to Across the Sky’s “First Love Song,” which was a true novelty and holds potential for future performances. Cartwheels, handstand-rolls and splits, coupled with the exaggerated presentation, made both of Malone’s acts entertaining.

 

Miranda Glamour and Dr. Sexpot maintained intermittent banter that kept things cohesive. Glamour’s delightful “Touch-A Touch-A Touch Me” from “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is becoming a signature act for her and, like a good cheese, keeps getting better with time. Sexpot revealed unsung talents on the piano to go along with her splendid voice in a jazz number at the top of the show. Her sunshine-steeped personality also shone through in “Put a Bag Over My Head and Let’s Make Love,” which was, if possible, almost musical theater burlesque.

Blanche DeBris, part of the cast of “Menopause” at the Luxor, gave Sexpot a vocal run for her money with a rendition of “Funny Valentine” sung into a handheld mirror. Oh, and there was a guy eating what looked like flaming marshmallows. Zamora the Torture King smoked other performers with his fire-eating act and ended the show with the same side-show energy that makes burlesque so much fun to watch.

 

All bawdy jokes aside, this month’s “Burly-Q” was unexpectedly poignant. While the comment in the Weekly certainly isn’t condemning in itself, it reveals a sobering mentality about some of the artistic work in the city. Grassroots shows like this can be easy to overlook sometimes. However, the vivacious effort on the part of the performers makes them considerably harder to discredit.

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Flame-spinners, magicians, contortionists and babes with big voices got together for January’s “Karnival,” held at the Onyx Theatre on Jan. 4. As the first show of the new year, the performance represented an auspicious start. As an installment in the ongoing “Karnival” series, it constituted a step in a dynamic and highly enjoyable direction.

One of the strongest attributes of the show was its ability to showcase new talent while still keeping audience favorites alive and well. The recurring “Mama” character was present in voice if not in person; a voice-over was broadcast because, as the story goes, Mama was in Costa Rica during the show. (Stephanie Castellone, Mama’s alter-ego, was in the show this time around and no walker was necessary.)

Instead, Mama’s sister Girdy (played by J P Nomi Malone and pictured below) fulfilled the role of hilariously outrageous accoutrement. Coupled with emcee Vivianne Dumonde, the drag queen filling in for Ginger Grant, the show was well-spiked with comedy of the same brand but of a different flavor.

The talent continued along this vein as well, with a mix of classic acts and newcomers. Spade of Hearts started the show in proper Broadway fashion with a cheeky character, a masked rabbit in a tux, sly magic tricks and a fabulously belted version of Jefferson Airplane’s  “White Rabbit.”

Leda Las Vegas and Lou Lou Roxy took the audience from Wonderland to a cabaret … or, rather, “Cabaret.” Leda, mic in hand, sat coyly at a table downstage while Roxy, clad in black fringe and dark lipstick, preened and shimmied her way through the act. The number was both understated and outgoing, with Leda’s expressive voice defying the role of simple accompaniment.

Two other voices stood out in the show as well, proving that while “Karnival” might be playful at times, the performers themselves aren’t playin’. Isabella Ivy and Ianroel Gargantiel (pictured left) sang the title track from “Phantom of the Opera,” complete with an opera gown on Ivy (but, strangely, no mask on Gargantiel.) Ivy’s soaring soprano and the seriousness of Gargantiel’s character were transforming forces for the small theater and added a note (or several) of seriousness to the show.

Bellydancer Resa Alhena, accompanied by John Dark on accordion, and Miranda Glamour held down the dance fort with two different but catchy acts. Alhena and Dark (both pictured below) performed a sweet and sultry duet at the top of the show, rife with details from fingers and belly alike. Perhaps the most enjoyable facet of the number was the conversational nature between the two and Alhena’s serenity and quiet smile were infectious. Glamour took another route altogether, stepping into “Toucha Toucha Touch Me” track from “Rocky Horror Picture Show” with all the personality and bubblegum sass that the song requires.

A magician, a fire-spinner and a Cirque contortion act ushered in the quintessential side of the circus a la Las Vegas.

Kyle Marlett (pictured left), a self-proclaimed nerd magician that has yet to turn 21, razzle-dazzled the audience with unique illusions to a track from “Chicago.” Ripped paper that became whole, a never-ending sugar packet, and a one-sided conversation with the audience transcribed into a composition book set up Marlett’s grand finale: a demonstration that he really does have the best mouth in Vegas (their words, not mine.) Into that mouth went dental floss, followed by a number of small objects. By the end of the act, Marlett was pulling the floss back out of his mouth with each of the objects tied, in cherry-stem-style, to the string.

Oh, my. Marlett’s illusions were excellent and his Michael Cera-esque demeanor was both endearing and impressive.

Contortion and fire ended the show in style. Cirque contortionists (of whom Castellone was one, explaining the absence of Mama) twined over, under and around each other in a number originally performed in the touring Cirque show called “Nouvelle Experience.” The ease with which the performers maneuvered was astounding and the smiles that interspersed the act were the cherry on top.

Who loves a flaming stage? Maybe not the stage manager, but Chris Staefe (pictured above) has it under control — it was only on fire fora few seconds, after all, and it really was intentional. Staefe’s choice of music, a dramatic instrumental track from “The Lion King,” paired with the act well and accentuated the “wow” factor of watching balls of fire on a string spinning around.

And all too soon, the performers were stepping forward for their final bow. I don’t know if a New Year’s resolution at the Onyx was to ramp up the entertainment value of their shows, but if it was, mission accomplished. Hopefully the extreme talent and variety continues.

Two shows at the Onyx Theatre are starting 2011 with a bang. A Broadway-themed “Karnival,” replete with singers and dancers, will be performed on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. “Karnival” is one of Vegas’ most established monthly shows and can be seen at the Onyx on the first Wednesday of each month. These performers pride themselves on spine-tingling oddities as well as the entertainment value of their shows and each performance features a different spread of sensory acts. For more “Karnival” coverage, view a post on their Halloween show here.

“Karnival” will be performed on Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

“A Little Song and Dance” will follow closely on the heels of Karnival. Tia Taymar from the Miley Achievement Center and Marko Westwood, the artistic director of the Las Vegas Repertory Dance Theater, are teaming up to present a concert on Jan. 7 and 8 to benefit education.

Ten choreographers have donated their work to the show, which will showcase choreography by Tiffany Caudullo, Serena Bartholomew, Petrina Olson, Onishia Murillo, Anna Michele Fazio and Westwood himself. Many of the dance pieces will be accompanied by live vocals and music and several guest artists are part of the program as well, including Ava Galore, cast members from Rag Tag Entertainment’s upcoming production of “RENT” and Arles Estate.

“A Little Song and Dance” will be performed on Jan. 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and proceeds will be donated to the Miley Achievement center. Visit the Onyx Theater website or call (702) 732-7225 for more details.

As any dancer in a large-scale production can tell you, track sheets (essentially backstage road maps for entrances, exits, costume changes and the like) can get complicated.

Here at the Insider, things aren’t too different. There’s a lot going on this month, so here’s a breakdown of some of the crazy stuff that is happening (or has recently happened) throughout the month of November. If you know of an event that you would like to be included, shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment below.

Tuesday, Nov. 9 — ongoing: Cirque’s “Viva ELVIS” soundtrack hit digital shelves today. Follow the link here and find it on iTunes. “Blue Suede Shoes” is free til Nov. 16.

Thursday, Nov. 11 — 10 p.m. at Daddy Mac’s: “Burly-Que Revue,” the monthly burlesque show. See it the second Thursday of the month. 

Friday, Nov. 12 — 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. at Tunay Ink: locking workshop with Scoo B Doo. Work through wrist rolls, scoo bot, Scoo B Doo, and learn about where locking came from in the first place.

Sunday, Nov. 14 — 1 p.m. at the Rock Center for Dance: master class with choreographer Bonnie Story (see her work in “High School Musical” and “Viva ELVIS”).

Tuesday, Nov. 16 — 9 .m. at Blush Nightclub at Wynn resort: Third annual Go-Go Cup, $30, locals and industry free. Winners will be chosen by crowd participation. Register at blush@lasvegasnightgroup.com.

Thursday, Nov. 18 – Saturday, Nov. 20 — 8 p.m. – 10:15 p.m. at UNLV‘s Dance Studio One in the Ham Fine Arts building: “Kinetic Connections.” Tickets are $18 for the general public and $10 for students, seniors, military and UNLV faculty and staff. Tickets are available at the UNLV Performing Arts Center Box Office. Call (702) 895-ARTS (2787) for details.

Friday, Nov. 19 at Tunay Ink: Hip-hop jam with Fuku Burger and Tunay Ink. Details TBA.

Saturday, Nov. 27 — 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the Rock Center for Dance: Step Up and Dance, a fundraiser organized by Melina Rounis (“The Beatles LOVE”) in partnership with Three Square food distribution center. Donate $10 and up and dance as much or as little as you’d like. The more the merrier, so please invite your friends, stop by and donate and show some LOVE. You do not have to be a dancer to attend this event. All proceeds go to the Clark County Food Bank.

Wednesday, Dec. 1 — 8 p.m. at the Onyx Theatre: “Karnival”: Las Vegas’ only monthly themed variety show. Tickets are $20. Doors open at 7:30.

Friday, Dec. 10 – Thursday, Dec. 23 — 10:30 p.m. at the Insurgo Bastard Theater: “Insurgo: The Nutcracker,” adapted and directed by John Beane.

Friday, Dec. 17 – Saturday, Dec. 26 at the Paris Theatre in Paris Las Vegas: Nevada Ballet Theatre’s “Nutcracker.” For ticket prices and information and show times, follow the link here.

@ 953 E. Sahara Ave.

In the spooky spirit of the month, the Onyx Theatre put on their annual Halloween burlesque show at 8 p.m. on Oct. 27. The place was decked out in spiderwebs and fog and there really is nothing like a drag queen in costume.

It was a “living, breathing, tasty variety show,” in the words of emcee Ginger Grant. The show was well-paced and Grant’s bawdy humor kept the atmosphere lively and laid-back. It was obvious that the Onyx is no stranger to shows of this type.

Content-wise, there could have been more deliberately Halloween-y acts, although a few stood out for being so. Zombie-style Leda Las Vegas, singing “I Screamed a Scream,” kept interrupting herself with lunges toward the oh-so-delectable brains of the audience. Miss Miranda Glamour picnicked graveside with a charming undead fellow and a bottle of A-1 sauce. Lou-Lou Roxy made an appearance as a hypnotist and Genevieve Serpentine ended up covered in snakes.

Elaine, dressed as Lady Gaga, brought a “Bad Romance” to the table and performed respectably well. The recurring character known as Mama, played by Stephanie Castellone, was an audience-favorite and her banter with Grant was an act in itself.

More classic burlesque was well-represented in Renea le Roux’s flouncy French number and Miss Karla Joy’s stately performance to the “Addams Family” theme. Joy’s phenomenal lip-syncing act to a 1950s infomercial-style product pitch also dropped jaws.

All tips for the show went to the Sin Sity Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting those with HIV and AIDS. Follow the link above for more information on the group.

Photos are supposedly worth a thousand words, and that should be especially true on Halloween. Watch out for tricks this weekend, remember “stranger danger” and take a gander at the photos below. View a schedule for upcoming shows at the Onyx and find ticket information here.

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